world History short articles for students

world History

● It is the oldest civilisation of the world.

Mesopotamia is the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. 

● Mesopotamians were the first to use potter’s

wheel, to make iron implements to make glass ware, to evolve a proper system of writing 

called Cuneiform. Cuneiform script was

deciphered by Henry Rawlinson.

● Mesopotamians discovered sexagesimal

system of counting (based on sixties),

Pythogoras theorem, lunar calendar and

calculated the length of day and night.

Chinese Civilisation

● The earliest civilisation was by the Shang

(Chou) Dynasty, followed by the Chin and

Han dynasties.

● In 3rd century BC, the ruler of China dynasty

built the Great Wall.

● Chinese script was pictographic and their

calendar was a combination of solar-lunar


● Silk became the chief item of export during

the Hans.

● The two major religions were Taoism and

Confucianism. They invented water clock,

abacus, umbrella, paper and seismograph.

Iranian Civilisation

● This civilisation developed in around 6th

century BC by the Achaemenid Empire under

its first ruler, Cyrus. His capital was at


● His successors were Darius I and Darius III.

The Achaemenids introduced the use of gold

and silver coins.

● Their main religion was Zoroastrianism,

founded by Zarathustra or Zoroaster. Their

official language was Aramaic.

Greek Civilisation

● The civilisation developed around 800 BC,

when the small villages clustered to form


● They worshipped Zeus (Sky God), Poseidon

(Sea God), Apollo (Sun God), Athena (Goddess

of victory), Dionysus (God of Wine) etc.

● In the Battle of Marathon (490

BC), Greeks defeated King Darius

I. Alexander was the greatest Greek


● The Olympic Games originated in

Greece. Iliad and Odyssey are

among the best epics of the world

written by Homer.

Roman Civilisation

● Italy was the centre of the

civilisation. The city of Rome was

founded by Romulus in 1000 BC on

the bank of river Tiber.

● The war between Carthage and

Rome is known as Punic War (264

BC to 146 BC).

● Julius Caesar, one of the generals, murdered Pompey, another general 

and occupied the throne. He was attached to the Egyptian queen Cleopatra. 

Caesar was succeeded by Octavian and Diocletion. 

● Romans worshipped the planets. They developed the Latin language. 

● Lucretius, Seneca, Cicero and Marus were the famous Roman philosophers and Horace and Virgil were the poets. Tacitus and Pliny were the historians. 

● They invented ‘concrete’, useful

for constructing buildings.


● The Renaissance or ‘‘Revival of

learning’’ started in the AD 14th

century in Italy. The fall of

constantinople by the Turks in

1453 led to the dispersal of

scholars from Europe to Itlay.

● Renaissance led to the revival of

classical learning, art and

architecture and propelled

humanism. Renaissance

writers-Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio

and Machiavelli, came to the fore.● Renaissance painters—Leonardo

da Vinci (The last Supper and

Monalisa), Michelangelo (The last Judgement and the fall of man) and Raphael


● The movement also helped in the

development of printing press.

Reformation (16th Century)

● This movement was started in Germany by

Martin Luther, by publicly protesting the

sale of Letters of Indulgence.

● It was a revolt against Roman Catholic

Church. As a result, Western Europe was

split between Roman Catholic and protestant


Glorious Revolution of

England (1688)

● This revolution started against the policies of

King James II. He tried to secure freedom of

worship for Catholics.

● This united the Whigs and Tories of

Anglican Church against him, and they

invited William of Orange to occupy English


● James II threw the great seal into the

river Thames and fled to France. The event

is known as Glorious or Bloodless


● It ended the despotic rule of the Stuarts,

established Supremacy of Parliament. The

Bill of Rights (1689) was passed that settled

down the problem of succession.

Industrial Revolution

● It began in Britain in AD 1750 with the

invention of Spinning Jenny by Hargreaves,

Water frame by Richard Arkwright (1769),

Mule by Samuel Crompton (1779), Power

loom by Emmund Cartwright (1785) and

Steam engine by James Watt (1769).

● This fastened the production of cloth and

better quality yarn were produced. The

economic progress also affected the cultural

and social life of the people.

American Revolution

● A struggle by which 13 English colonies of

North America got independence from


● George Washington, the first President of

America was the pioneer of this revolution.

● Boston Tea Party (1773) A group of citizens

of Boston dumped the crates of tea, loaded

on a ship of East India Company into

the sea. This was because of the

problem on tea tax.

● On 4th July, 1776, the Declaration

of Independence was issued

authored by Thomas Jafferson.

● The war ended with the Treaty of

Paris in AD 1783.

● Benjamin Franklin established the

American Philosophical Society.

Americans were the first to have a

written Constitution.

French Revolution

● The Revolution initiated on

5th May, 1789 during the kingship of

Louis XVI.

● French society was divided into three

estates (Clergy, Nobility and


● The immediate cause of the

revolution was the extravagant

expenditure and inefficiency by

Louis XV and Louis XVI.

● Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau

were the French writers and thinkers

of the period.

● Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

were the watch word of the


Unification of Germany

● This was the result of the Blood and

Iron Policy of Bismarck, the Prime

Minister of King William I (Prussia).

● After the Napoleonic war

(1803-15), the 38 independent

states were unified under the king

of Prussia. From 1815 to 1850,

Austria ruled over the German


● Bismarck defeated Austria and

dissolved the German confederation.

● He founded a new confederation of

22 states in 1866. The unification

was completed with the

Prussia-France War (1870), in

which the French Emperor Louis

Bonaparte was defeated.

● William I, the king of Prussia was

declared as the Emperor of Germany

at Versailles in France.

Russo-Japanese War (1904-05)

The conflict arising from the rivalry of

Russia and Japan for control of Manchuria

and Korea resulted in the war. Russia was

forced to surrender Korea, the Liaotung

Peninsula and Sakhalin to Japan.

First World War (1914-18)

International conflict began between Austria

and Serbia. The chief contestants were the

Central Powers (Germany and Austria) and

the Triple Entente (Britain, France and

Russia). Many other countries joined as the

war began. War ended with the Treaty of


Sino-Japanese Wars (1931-33)

Two wars between China and Japan,

marking the beginning and the end of

Japanese imperial expansion on the Asian

mainland. The first war in 1894-95 arose

from rivalry for control of Korea. The second

war in 1937-45 developed from Japan’s

seizure of Manchuria.

Second World War (1939-45)

International conflict arising from disputes

provoked by the expansionist policies of

Germany in Europe and Japan in the far

East. The axis powers- Germany, Italy and

(after September 1940) Japan-controlled

most of Europe and much of Northern

Africa, China and Asia. The United States

stayed out of the war until 7th December,

1941. The Allies (led by USA, Britain and

USSR) were the victors.

Arab-Israeli War

(1948-1949, 1956, 1967, 1973-1974)

Conflict between Israel and the Arab states.

After the creation of the state of Israel

(14th May, 1948), troops from Egypt, Iraq,

Lebanon, Syria and Trans Jordan (Modern

Jordan) invaded the new nation.

Simmering Arab-Israeli hostilities

exploded into war in 1967, when Israel,

assailed by Palestinian guerillas, launched

a massive primitive strike against Egypt,

the Arab world’s leading state.

Korean War (1950-1953)

Conflict between North Korea, supported by

China and South Korea, supported by UN

forces dominated by the USA. Negotiations

continued for two years before a truce was

agreed on in July 1953.

Vietnam War (1954-1975)

Conflict between US backed South Vietnam

and the Viet Cong, who had the support of

communist North Vietnam. It followed the

partition of Vietnam. In 1975, South

Vietnam was overrun by North Vietnamese

forces, and the country was united under

Communist rule.

Iran-Iraq War (1980-1990)

War began shortly after the Iranian

Revolution of 1979. Iraq wanted control over

oil-rich Iranian border territory.

Falkland War (1982)

Military conflict between Great Britain and

Argentina on the question of sovereignty

over the Falkland Islands led to the war.

Britain won the war.

Gulf War (1991)

Military action by a US led coalition to expel

Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Kuwait was

liberated (26th February, 1991) and a

ceasefire was declared on 28th February.

Bosnian War (1992-98)

Ethnically rooted war in Bosnia and

Herzegovina, a republic of Yugoslavia with a

multiethnic population-Muslims, Serbs and


US-Afghan War (2001)

Military action by US against Afghanistan in

protest against the 11th September’s, attack

on WTC Towers.

Gulf War II (2003)

Military action by a US led coalition to oust

Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq. It was

conducted on the pretext of Iraq possessing

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

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